Spicy Christmas Fruit Loaf

Although the loaf seems quite complicated to prepare it is actually fairly easy, especially if you are able to break the task down over a few days (chop the fruits on day one, prepare the batter on day two). This is usually how I do it since I often work long hours and don't have time to spend too many hours in the kitchen (although I wish I was able to!). My husband loves, loves, loves this loaf which is why I prepare a whole lot every year, to freeze. He is still nicking a piece from the fridge in June! When the pumpkins arrive in the shops (they don't grow in Iceland, they are imported) I start preparing for the annual Spicy Christmas Loaf. The loaf is egg free, lactose, nut free and vegan. It is sweet, spicy and quite filling. I love a slice of this loaf with a cup of tea.

You will need a basic loaf tin (I prefer to use the ones made from silicon).


My healthy, spicy Christmas loaf!

This recipe is:

  • Egg free
  • Lactose (dairy) free
  • Nut free
  • Vegan

Spicy Christmas Fruit Loaf

Makes one loaf

Ingredients

  • 400 grams (14 oz) pumpkin or butternut squash (you will need 250 grams (8¾ oz) cooked pumpkin)
  • 250 grams (8¾ oz) apricots (unsulphured/organic)
  • 80 grams (3 oz) pitted dates
  • 120 grams (4 oz) prepared pineapple 
  • 200 grams (7 oz) raisins
  • 100 grams (3½) sultanas (or more raisins)
  • 1 orange (the zest and 3 tablespoons juice)
  • Half a lemon (the zest only)
  • 290 millilitres (10 fluid oz) apricot jam (without added sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 280 grams (10 oz) spelt flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon aluminium free and gluten free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (Himalaya or sea salt)

Preparation

  1. First, slice open the pumpkin. Clean out the seeds and membrane and cut outer skin away. Cut 250 grams pumpkin in pieces; transfer to a medium saucepan, cover with water and cook until tender or approximately 20 minutes.
  2. Drain the pumpkin and let cool for 30 minutes. Place in a food processor and mix for 10 seconds or until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Chop the 80 grams dates and 250 grams apricots finely.
  4. To peel the pineapple, place it base side down and carefully slice off the skin, carving out any remaining hard "eyes" with the tip of your knife. Then cut the pineapple into quarters, remove the core (hard part in the middle) and cut 120 grams pineapple into small pieces.
  5. Grate or zest the orange finely. Be careful only to include the outer layer (orange part) as the soft, white part/pith is very bitter. Also zest the lemon (you will only need half a lemon).
  6. Squeeze the orange and set aside 3 tablespoons juice.
  7. In a large saucepan, place the dates, apricots, 200 grams raisins, 100 grams sultanas, pineapple, lemon- and orange zest as well as the 290 millilitres apricot jam, 1 teaspoon coconut oil and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Turn the heat up and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  8. In a large bowl, sift together the 280 grams spelt flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground cloves and 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
  9. Add the 275 grams pumpkin puree to the large bowl.
  10. With a large wooden spoon, fold the ingredients from the saucepan into the large bowl, fold approximately 8-10 times. The batter will look fairly ugly but this is fine since it will ensure that the loaf will be light.
  11. Lightly grease a silicon loaf tin with a few drops of coconut oil. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and make sure that the corners have batter as well. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius/350 Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 4, for 60 minutes.
  12. You can tell if the loaf is ready when sticking a sharp knife into the middle. If it comes out clean, it is ready. It will also sound hollow when tapped underneath with your knuckles when ready. I prefer the loaf a little sticky however so it might not be completely ready in 60 minutes, bake for longer if you prefer.
  13. Once the loaf is ready, remove from the oven and immediately pierce it all over with a small sharp knife (or a fork). Pour the 3 tablespoons orange juice over the loaf.
  14. Wrap the loaf (still in the tin) in aluminium foil and leave to cool over night.

Tips

  • You can use orange jam instead of the apricot jam. If you use orange jam, omit the orange peel in the recipe.
  • You can use dried apples and mangoes instead of the pineapple.
  • You can use agave nectar instead of the maple syrup.         
  • If the coconut oil is cold (in which case it becomes solid), place the jar in a bowl filled with hot water for a couple of minutes.
  • You can use whole wheat flour instead of the spelt flour.
  • You can use regular baking powder instead of the aluminium and gluten free one.
  • If you don't have a silicon loaf tin, you can use regular loaf tin and line it with baking parchment.
  • You can use tinned pumpkin and tinned pineapple, just make sure these do not include any preservatives/additives or added sugar. Buy organic if possible.
  • Add a handful of chopped walnuts or pecan nuts for a healthy treat.
  • Add a handful of chopped, dark chocolate for an extra special treat.
  • The loaf freezes well.